San Telmo flea market

Marketing at San Telmo Sunday flea market [YQrtw Day 63 Jun 9]

Location: Buenos Aires, Argentina

I don’t really have any plans for Buenos Aires. My main goal here is to learn enough Spanish to venture out into the wild wild South America.

So for today, I listened to the advice of someone on Instagram and decided to check out San Telmo Sunday flea market. A Google Map search told me that it was within a walking distance of 2.4km.

It was drizzling slightly when I walked out of the hostel building. The street was empty except for a few people and some taxis.

As I walked down the road, I realized that I was the only person carrying an umbrella. Other people were walking in the rain or standing in a shade.

It was a bit unnerving walking down the long stretch of road and not seeing another umbrella even though the rain was enough to soak into my clothes.

I thought that maybe Buenos Airesians (?) do not believe in umbrella. But umbrella is not a religion, how can you not believe in it?

Finally, when I turned into Ave Indepencia, I saw another umbrella. I could only see the white beard of the person carrying the umbrella.

Before heading to San Telmo, I walked along Ave Indepencia, trying to find a Japanese restaurant. I didn’t manage to find it but I did see the Japanese Association in Argentina.

(Later, I found out that the restaurant shared the same address as the association but I still could not find the entrance.)

Japanese Association in Argentina
Japanese Association in Argentina

After the fruitless search, I continued on my way. I turned around the corner and stopped to take a photo.

Suddenly, two boys appear near me. They stopped and one of them sat on the window sill. From the corner of my eye, I saw him holding a bottle of beer.

I felt uneasy. I suspected that they might want to rob me so I looked at the one nearest me in the eyes. I walked off but turned around to see if they were following me. The boy was still sitting but was looking in my direction.

I quickly walked down the streets. Luckily, a lot of people were walking a few roads down. I followed the current of the people and reached San Telmo Market.

The inside of the market wasn’t fascinating. It had different stalls. Some selling antiques, coffee, flowers, clothes, leather everything. One shop sold creepy antique dolls.

San Telmo Market, Buenos Aires
San Telmo Market, Buenos Aires

I walked around for about half an hour before I got bored. I thought to myself, “Is this it?”

So I got out of the market and walked right into the real Sunday flea market. Since the rain had only stopped just now, most of the stalls were only starting to set up their wares.

I also discovered the sister restaurant of the Japanese restaurant I wanted to go to. However, the price of A$100 (S$25) for a set meal scared me off and I gave an excuse that I should continue walking.

So I walked. All the way from one end of the market to the other end at Plaza Mayo. Walking on Buenos Aires’ cobbled stone path wasn’t easy. I sometimes trip but manage not to fall.

The wares sold repeated themselves: Woolly clothes, mate cups and straw, leather goods etc.

San Telmo Sunday flea market
San Telmo Sunday flea market

I did manage to buy a comic book for Spanish practice.

Mafalda comic
Mafalda comic

After the long long walk, I headed back to my hostel. On the way, I stopped by SUMO, an ice cream shop recommended by a classmate.

In Argentina, they don’t serve ice cream like you know it. The sizes come in 1/4 kilogram, half a kilogram and a kilogram.

I didn’t realize that and ordered a medium ice cream. It came in a bad tasting waffle but was quite big. I found out that for 3 pesos more, I could have gotten the 1/4 kilogram of ice cream. Now I can only dream of such an ice cream.

Ice cream from San Telmo's SUMO
Ice cream from San Telmo’s SUMO

After the cold lunch, I finally got back to my hostel. I stayed in and didn’t do much since it was the last day before classes start.

The best and worst meal

For dinner, I was deciding between dinner at the pizzeria downstairs or a nice meal out. In the end, nice meal won because I’ve made up mind to start cooking on Monday.

So off I went to a Tripadvisor recommended steak house. The restaurant only had another table of customer because it was still too early for dinner.

I ordered the smallest steak and rashly added a glass of champagne. We have to enjoy life to the fullest, don’t we?

The champagne was delightful. It wasn’t too dry and the bubbles were popping about. I was down to half a glass when my steak finally came with its expensive serving of thick cut fries.

Argentinian steak is so lovely.
Argentinian steak is so lovely.

The steak as DE-LI-CIOUS. I ordered it rare, knowing that it is cooked to medium rare here in Argentina. It was very tasty. The best part was the fat which was crispy and oozed of liquid cholesterol.

There was also pools of pink blood leaking but that was comforting because it meant that it wasn’t fully cooked.

While the whole meal was wonderful, almost at the end of my steak, I felt the strangest sensation.

I was feeling quite tipsy since I drank champagne on an empty stomach. Worst thing was, the delicious meat that I had was actually clawing their way up my throat.

Oh dear.

I sat in my chair, staring out of the window at the Carrefour Express opposite. Half of me wanted to pay my bill, run to the supermarket and chug down 1 liters of water. The other half of me knew that I would probably throw up on the corner of the street before I even leave the restaurant.

The blood on the plate made me more nauseous. The whole fragrant grilled meat smell was making me disgusted.

I did the best thing. I ordered a A$16 bottle of non-gassy water.

The water was my saviour. I immediately felt more clear headed and less nauseous. I gratefully took sips of the water and finished the whole bottle.

I couldn’t wait to leave the restaurant since the smell of meat wasn’t helping with my stomach. I paid my bill and walked back slowly, planning my next less-alcoholic menu.

I’m open for suggestions on food to cook in hostel kitchens. If you have any recipes, please share them with me in the comments. Muchas gracias.

More about Liau Yun Qing

Yun Qing is a writer, improviser and curious person. She loves finding little adventures in life. In 2013, she went on a 130-day round-the-world trip. She wrote a book to help those who also want to go on a career break.

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